Lakers swept, Heat advance in first weekend of NBA playoff action
This weekend was the first this season to have playoff basketball, and it certainly provided NBA fans with some memorable moments. Some longtime dynasties took a hit and other young stars emerged as the future of the league, while the defending champion Miami Heat proved that they are still the team to beat with an impressive performance.
Few teams have had as up-and-down of a season as the Los Angeles Lakers. They entered the year with high expectations after the acquisition of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, but they struggled out of the gate and relied on a late push to even make the playoffs. However, after Kobe Bryant suffered a season ending surgery, their tumultuous season came to an inglorious close on Sunday when they were swept out the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs after a 103-82 loss. It marked just the second time in the team's history they suffered a first round sweep.
Stephen Curry firmly establishes his place
Curry lit up the scoreboard during much of the regular season - even dropping 54 points at Madison Square Garden - and the young Golden State Warriors point guard has done much of the same in the first round of the playoffs. On Sunday, he led the Warriors to an impressive 115-101 win over the Denver Nuggets where he scored 31 points - including 22 in one quarter.
Celtics barely hanging on
The Boston Celtics are clearly a team in transition, and this may be one of their best chances for a title for some time, but they quickly fell behind three games to none against the New York Knicks and it looked like the era of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett might be over. On Sunday afternoon, however, the C's showed signs of life. Despite bowing a big lead, the Celtics forced overtime captured the victory - making sure they stay alive for at least one more game.
Rematch may be in the cards
The two most impressive teams in the first round of the playoffs were the participants in last year's finals - the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder. For Miami, they quickly dispatched of the Milwaukee Bucks in four games, while the Thunder have had no trouble building a 3-0 lead on the Houston Rockets.